In November of 2009, the US Navy sent me to Great Lakes, Illinois. It was part of my shore duty assignment. I was familiar with the suburb of North Chicago, because it is where Great Lakes Naval Base is located, because I made my first stint in Great Lakes in the year 2003. I was a trainee in the Navy and years later I was assigned to be an instructor at one of the training center and I enjoyed it very much. Anyway, on my time off work I tried to enjoy the nightlife as any young would do. The nightlife led me to a few shit holes in the suburbs in Lake County, Illinois.
The first one is called Flanagan’s. Flanagan’s is supposed to be an Irish pub, but it is more of a hangout for all the Navy troublemakers (I used to be one of them). I used to hang around the establishment in 2003. I was twenty three years old and care free. Flanagan was a fun place to hang at first, then it become a very bad place. Fights would break out every weekend, and the police would arrive to break everything. I frequented the premises for a few months, then I got tired of the place. It led me to venture in Kenosha, Wisconsin to a bar called the barn. The barn had all kind of sales pitch to get people between the doors. On Fridays, they had the 0.75 cents drink. I ventured there for a few drinks, and I had fun. I met a bar maid who was quite tall, and she saw me at various drunk stages. Her name is Julie, and I do not know if I will see her again. I heard years later the barn burned down.
On my third stint in Great Lakes, I visited In-laws and Fatman’s bar. They were bars in the Gurnee area of Illinois. In-Laws was a fire code violation, and the owner realized it eventually and shut it down. Fatman’s had more space and a more laid back atmosphere. During springs and summers, patrons would play volleyball. I met a woman with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at Fatman’s one night. We spent times together, and one night I broke the headboard of my bed. We stopped seeing each other after that event, and then she moved to Michigan. However, Fatman’s and In-laws were not as terrible as Famous Freddy’s. I have a love hate relation with Famous Freddy’s. In the fall of 2010, colleagues invited me to an engagement party at Famous Freddy’s. I went there and I had fun with my buddies. Some of the women there were stuck up, and I took pleasure ignoring them. I realized later these women were young, so I became indifferent to them. The older women were fun though. One winter, I met the Fremont assessor. We had a few drink and exchanged phone numbers. Minutes later she left, and sent me a text. The text was her home address, and she told me her front door was unlocked. I went to her house, and locked the door behind me. No children were around, and we were quite active on that bed. A week later, she sent me another text and I went to meet her. Then her ex husband came to the house. The police had to come to resolve the situation. I remained a friend with the Fremont assessor. A few years later, I got out of the Navy, and I stayed in Illinois. One summer night, I went to Famous Freddy’s. I saw middle aged woman, and I smiled at her. She smiled back at me, and approached me. We talked and had a few drinks. After the last call, she drove me to my car. We then met at a parking lot and consummated our night in the backseat of her SUV. I found out later that she was a teacher, and she was going to a divorce. For one year, we had a physical relation. I felt guilty about it, because I felt like I was using her. The truth is I was afraid to be vulnerable with her. I was finding excuses to torpedo anything meaningful between us. I really did not like whenever I made her cry. She finally moved on with her life, and she is in happier place.
The worst shit hole was named after the owner. The owner and I share the same first name. The food he served there was decent, but the crowd there was of the unsavory type. I have seen drug deals take place at the establishment. One night, I found myself talking to a domestic violence victim. I normally gave complete stranger my phone number to call me whenever they want someone to talk to. However, that night I did not. Richard’s was a threshold to high for me. I have frequented some weird places, but I have met decent people at the weirdest places. Life is an ironic adventure that I enjoy very much.